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Three players to watch in 2024

Speaking to the media last week, Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo called out three players to keep your eyes on as we close in on the NRL Pre-Season Challenge, kicking off on February 15.

Training the house down: Bronson Xerri

After returning to the NRL following four years away from the game, the 23-year-old local junior is back in the Bulldogs squad and training the house down. Ciraldo said Xerri has been ‘‘a real surprise packet for us''.

‘‘He probably found the conditioning side of things hard early on, being out of the game for quite a while, but once he got that conditioning base he's just worked really hard and shown the talent level he's got,'' he said. ‘‘We're really excited about how he's going.''

Needed to get out of his comfort zone: Blake Taaffe

Sat behind Latrell Mitchell at the Rabbitohs, the change of scenery is proving to be good for the young fullback.

‘‘I think Blake Taaffe has come in and shown that he can be a really quality regular NRL player. He's really come in and showed us what skills he's got,'' Ciraldo said.

‘‘I just like his instincts. I love what he does to the game. In the reserve grade finals last year, you could tell he had a high football IQ. He was communicating with his teammates, working really hard on trying to break down the opposition, but also working really hard at the ball.''


Never looked fitter: Max King

The 26-year-old is no stranger to the game. Starting his career with the Gold Coast before a stint in Melbourne, King has been at Belmore for the past two seasons. Ciraldo said he has put in the hard yards these past two years, and was starting to become a leader in the team.

‘‘Max King is a guy who has played a lot of footy over the last two years, sort of cemented himself as a really important part of our pack, and he's taken it up another level this year,'' Ciraldo said.

‘‘He's just a workhorse that not a lot of people notice, but for us, the quality of his work has really increased this pre-season, and he's starting to feel more comfortable around the group in a leadership role.''


Originally published as 'Stars shaping up to shine in race for the premiership', courtesy The Sydney Morning Herald.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.